The New Aztecs: Ritual and Restraint in Contemporary Western Military Operations by Dr. Zhivan Alach, US Army War College Strategic Studies Institute. Brief synopsis follows:
The Western way of war has come full circle. After centuries of evolution toward increased totality and brutality, it has turned back once again to the ritualistic and restrained methods of primitive warfare. Largely, this has been due to an interaction between the perceived lack of utility in contemporary warfare, developing humanitarian public opinion, and increasing professionalism among militaries. The significance of these evolutionary trends in the way that the West engages in modern warfare is that they are potentially dangerous, and they include the possibility that the West will be unprepared for a future foe whose defeat requires more unrestrained methods.